The delivery of .NET 4.5.1 brings improvements that boost development for Windows 8.1. .NET 4.5.1 is a highly compatible, in-place update for .NET 4.5 that ships as part of Windows 8.1, Somasegar said. The .NET 4.5.1 Preview installs as part of Visual Studio 2013 Preview, is included in all installations of Windows 8.1 Preview, and is also available for separate installation into Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista and the corresponding Windows Server releases.
"Much of our work in this release of .NET is on improving the debugging and general diagnostics experience for developers," Somasegar said. "As just one example, .NET developers have been asking for a feature that's been available to C++ developers for a while: viewing method return values in the debugger, even if those values are never stored into any declared variable. With .NET 4.5.1 and Visual Studio 2013, this capability is now built-in. This is particularly useful when you write method invocations inline as parameters to other invocation."
.NET 4.5.1 also supports "Edit and Continue" for 64-bit, which enables developers to change their running .NET code while stopped at a breakpoint in the debugger, without having to stop and restart the process and with it the debugging experience. It also supports async debugging.
"I'm particularly excited about improvements we've made in this release to support async debugging (you need to be using Visual Studio 2013 on Windows 8.1 to get this capability, as the debugger relies in part on some new operating system support to enable it)," Somasegar wrote in his post. "Previously, it could be very difficult for a developer stopped at a breakpoint to know the asynchronous sequence of calls that brought them to the current location."
Visual Studio 2013 also features a bunch of improvements for C++ developers. Indeed, Somasegar said one of the biggest requests Microsoft had from C++ developers was for more C++11 standard support. Visual Studio 2013 includes C++11 features like delegating constructors, raw string literals, explicit conversion operators and variadic templates.
In addition, Microsoft added several improvements to XAML, its Extensible Application Markup Language, and added diagnostic improvements to Visual Studio 2013.
Finally, Somasegar announced that Microsoft has released Visual Studio 2012 Update 3 (VS2012.3). VS2012.3 is an incrementally smaller update than its two predecessors: It includes a few new capabilities, but is focused primarily on bug fixes, he said.